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Raiders get late sympathy

PUBLISHED: 16:43 02 April 2010 | UPDATED: 21:47 02 July 2010

THIS most difficult of seasons for Romford Raiders came to an end with sympathy from their rivals. In-form Guildford eased off the throttle after racing into a 7-1 lead by the 25th minute at Rom Valley Way. The difference in class between the two sides wa

THIS most difficult of seasons for Romford Raiders came to an end with sympathy from their rivals.

In-form Guildford eased off the throttle after racing into a 7-1 lead by the 25th minute at Rom Valley Way.

The difference in class between the two sides was all too easy to see, but Raiders roused the home faithful one last time in the closing period.

Darius Pliskauskas put the final touch to a flowing move involving Frankie Harvey and Danny Marshall just seconds after the restart and when Dallas Costanzo struck on a powerplay to cut the gap to three, the Romford Roar could be heard again.

But Flames awoke from their self-induced slumber to extinguish any hopes of a fairytale finish with two late goals as Raiders reverted to type: this was their 46th loss of the 54-game regular season.

Not even 90 seconds were on the clock when Jez Lundin latched on to Rob Lamey's pass to fire the visitors into the lead.

Adrian Saul, Lubomir Hurtaj, Rick Plant and Gary Clarke were all denied by 17-year-old goalie Frankie Sabine - deputising for hamstring injury victim Charlie Kaylor - before another snappy passing move ended with Milos Melicherik converting for 2-0.

Costanzo scrambled in a reply from close range less than a minute later and Lamey's trip on Jozef Sladok gave Raiders a powerplay chance, but they had to thank Sabine for a sprawling save which denied Clarke on a shorthanded breakaway.

Clarke would not be denied the next time as he sliced his way in from the left wing to slip the puck home in the 18th minute.

And after Sladok was binned by referee Matt Thompson on a holding minor, Nathan Rempel tapped in at the far post to put the Flames 4-1 up at the first break.

Lamey tapped in number five, after the puck came back off the rink netting, and Clarke fired a slapshot into the top corner before Hurtaj slid a backhand shot through Sabine's legs to make it 7-1.

Jason Buckman had a consoling word for the under-siege goalie before play resumed and Dean Skinns proved the busier of the two stoppers after that, thwarting Matt Turner twice before Marshall and Harvey both missed the target on a powerplay.

The Flames supporters amused themselves with chants of "We're so rich, it's unbelievable" - which seemed somewhat in poor taste -before Pliskauskas followed up on his own rebound to claim Romford's second.

The Lithuanian ghosted in at the far post to tap in from Marshall's centring pass with Raiders fans still to take their seats for the last period.

And, after both he and Turner had efforts blocked on another home powerplay, Costanzo - due to fly off and join the Gold Coast Blue Tongues in the Australian League next week - forced the puck home for his 23rd goal of the campaign.

A holding the stick call against Stuart Potts, for a challenge at the blue line on Danny Cox, gave Raiders the man advantage once again and they buzzed around Skinns' net, with Pliskauskas - later named Romford's player of the month for March - going close to completing his hat-trick.

But Hurtaj forced a pad save from Sabine at the other end of the rink, before Rempel fired home an inevitable shorthanded goal to put Flames 8-4 up and Clarke's first-time shot added the finishing point with a minute left.

SCORERS

Raiders: Darius Pliskauskas* 2+2 Dallas Costanzo* 2 Danny Marshall 0+3 Frankie Harvey 0+2 Matt Turner 0+1.

Flames: Gary Clarke 3 Nathan Rempel* 2 Jez Lundin 1+3 Rob Lamey 1+2 Milos Melicherik* 1+1 Lubomir Hurtaj* 1+1 Neil Liddiard 0+2 Adrian Saul* 0+2 Stuart Potts 0+2 David Savage 0+1 Ricky Plant 0+1 Tom Duggan 0+1.


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